SportsBiz Madness: 2021 Case Study Tournament (Final Four Edition)

We continue to be very impressed with the work from our competing students for our fifth annual SportsBiz Madness case study tournament. 

In the “Elite Eight” round, students were asked to build a social media campaign in a ticket sales push for their favorite professional sports team. The effort all eight remaining teams put forth was evident, and selecting which schools would advance was very tough.

Unfortunately, just four teams will move on in the tournament for the chance to be crowned 2021 case study champs. Here is a recap of the elite eight round results and a look at who will be moving on to the Final Four!

HONORABLE MENTION:

Carle Place High School, New York

Students at Carle Place HS chose to create a social media ticket marketing strategy for the San Diego Padres. Some really cool ideas here from a content perspective. In particular, the utilizing the story feature on Instagram to host fan votes like what event will happen first in today’s game, a Tatis home run or a Snell strikeout. That’s a great way to keep fans engaged. “Favorite moments” in a bracket style fan vote is a fun idea as well, and perhaps there could even be some interesting opportunity to monetize some of those moments to help the club generate some revenue. Great job Carle Place High!

Flower Mound High School, Texas

Perhaps not surprisingly, Flower Mound students chose to develop a social sales plan for the Dallas Cowboys. One idea that really stood out was the inclusion of “experiences” with certain ticket packages. These experience packages would be promoted on Facebook and would command a higher price point. Featured experiences featured as part of Flower Mound’s “interactive” ticket packages would include things like access for fans to an exclusive tailgate outside the stadium, reservations at the iconic restaurant that the Cowboys players run through before games, and opportunities to watch pre-game on the sidelines for an up-close experience with the players. Excellent job by Flower Mound students as well from a research perspective, determining which social media platform would be most appropriate for the different types of ticket packages they plan to offer. Outstanding effort from FMHS!

Fruitport High School, Michigan

Fruitport High School students created a social sales plan for the Detroit Tigers. They did a nice job identifying which social platforms would be most effective in reaching their target audience, and building ticket promotions accordingly. Love the idea of tapping into the concept of fandom and creating a “superfan” promotion. From the Fruitport student report: “The Superfan Contest:  Like, Post, Share and Win!: Win a Superfan merchandise pack that includes  Detroit Tiger merchandise (t-shirt, drawstring bag, masks, water bottle, lanyard) and 20% off a Detroit Tigers baseball game ticket. Spectators will participate on social media and post their Superfan Selfies on Instagram with the hashtag “#TigerSuperfan.” Really nice job Fruitport High School!

Ellicottville Central, New York

Students at Ellicottville Central School chose to build a social media ticket sales plan for the Buffalo Bills. It was clear that these students did a lot of research re: covid protocols (which was one of the requirements for this case study), and determined a ticket sales strategy accordingly. Given the limitations with fewer fans being allowed to attend games, there were some great ideas here…it really shows how in tune Ellicottville students are with what teams have actually had to manage throughout this pandemic from a ticketing perspective. For example, providing tickets to healthcare workers was something a lot of teams did this year, including at the Super Bowl. Promoting everything through social media was well executed. Nice job Ellicottville Central!

THE FINAL FOUR:

Pinelands Regional High School, New Jersey

Two-time champion Pinelands Regional just continues to bring it in this competition. Some REALLY good ideas here from PRHS students to help boost ticket sales for the Tampa Bay Rays with a social media marketing campaign, along with a great plan for fan safety in addressing how the team will handle covid protocols.

Some highlights from PRHS fan safety plan:

  • Implementation of staggered seating pods on game days to ensure fans are social distancing
  • Fans and stadium workers will be required to wear face coverings to enter the stadium, and temperature checks for fans as they enter using special thermal cameras and sensors
  • Contactless stadium entry, cashless concessions & team shops
  • Customers will need to use credit or debit cards or cash apps (those patrons without access to those options will be directed to kiosks that allow cash to be converted into preloaded “RAYS PAYS” card)
  • QR codes be placed on the seat backs throughout the stadium so that fans can access concession menus and gift shop items, pay for their purchases at their seat and then have food runners bring the items to the patrons. This will help keep people socially distant and limit people gathering on lines and wandering around the concourse.

Some highlights from PRHS ticket marketing plan:

  • Via social media, offering live streams, behind the scenes looks and Q&A sessions with Rays players and staff with ticket sales promotions being offered during these sessions
  • “Inside Pitch” program exclusively for fans who buy a full or half season ticket package which includes monthly exclusive live stream Q&A sessions, with Rays’ General Manager
  • Ramping up a content strategy to feature one of the team’s most popular players, Ji-Man-Choi, and the team mascot to keep fans engaged and aware of game day promotions and “shoppable” opportunities to purchase tickets at a discount through social media platforms

Also, great idea to connect the promotions strategy to sponsors, recognizing the importance of generating revenue with fewer fans at the stadium during a pandemic year. Recognizing the impact the pandemic would have on ticket renewals was next-level thinking, appreciated seeing a plan in place for addressing that concern as well.

Once again, an amazing job by Pinelands Regional High School!

Green Run High School, Virginia

One of two “rookies” in this year’s competition to advance to the Final Four, Green Run HS students chose to develop a social sales plan for the Washington Nationals. Just as Major League Baseball officials navigate the pandemic and its impact on attendance, Green Run students were required to face the same challenge with this case study. GRHS stepped up with a masterful plan for creating the best possible experience at the park while maximizing revenue through ticket sales.

The key to the success of Green Run’s plan? Consistency. Regular posts featuring engaging content. A Snapchat post on every single game day featuring whatever promotion they were running. A TikTok challenge to start the season, starring one of the team’s best and most popular players. Game day tweets encouraging fans to post their favorite plays from the day’s action with offers for discounts on tickets to an upcoming game for the best tweets. All excellent ways to not only engage the fan base but also to increase ticket sales.

Some great promotion ideas here too! A few favorites:

  • THE VAC PACK: The Washington Nationals want to encourage all members of our community to get vaccinated against COVID 19. Season ticket holders : Show a vaccination card and receive 1 Free ticket for a friend to use at any home game this season.Though 1 is FREE, it encourages another game to come to and bringing more people.
  • The “You’re vOUTcher!” Meal Plan:This plan allows you to sit together with your family and all family members(up to 5) will receive a free meal “vOUTcher”.
  • Fans will have the opportunity for unique fan experiences and access to limited edition items. Fans who purchase season tickets, or  22,42, or 82 classic ticket plans and group sale tickets will get a VIP exclusive deal. They will be able to access a VIP area in the Clubhouse Team Store to shop and purchase exclusive souvenirs not sold anywhere else.
  • Mask giveaway: Team-branded masks will be given out to the first 2500 fans entering the game. Fans can follow us on twitter to view the mask for each home game.There will be daily tweets promoting the importance of public mask wearing, social distancing and regular handwashing. 
  • NATScination baseball card promotion involves our free vaccination pop up event at 1 designated game. Fans can show a vaccination card and get an exclusive signed baseball card. Fans can visit the NATScination tent up to 2 hours prior to game time. The first 3,000 fans showing their vaccination card will gain free entrance for the game. For all future games, fans who are NATScinated can use a special line for earlier entry into the games by showing their NATScination card along with their purchased ticket.

Fantastic job Green Run High School, really loved the creativity!

Grant High School, Oregon

The other “rookie” in this year’s competition is Grant High School who created a social ticket sales strategy for the Portland Trail Blazers. Grant High School students did an excellent job weaving promotions and ticket sales efforts with fan safety and covid protocols in a fun yet effective manner. Because the team is limited to just 25% of capacity at the stadium, GHS students built the entire campaign around that theme. A couple of highlights:

  • Playing off of the theme of 25% Capacity and 25% Off tickets, fans who buy tickets with a special social media link to purchase game tickets will be entered into a raffle with a chance to win a #25 classic Jerome Kersey jersey (one of the most popular players in franchise history).
  • The “social distancing special” campaign on the team’s Instagram and Twitter feeds promotes social distancing, but ties in with a ticket sales effort by asking fans to post a photo on their social feeds and tag the team anytime a Blazers play crosses up a defender. Fans who post and tag as part of the promotion are then eligible for a 25% discount on tickets.

Overall, great ideas from Grant High School. Really well done!

Downers Grove High School, Illinois

Students at Downers Grove High School chose the Chicago White Sox for this case study. Their social sales plan was LOADED with creative ideas and sound strategies for boosting sales, all while keeping fans safe during the ongoing pandemic.

One thing that really stood out in the DGNHS campaign was the team’s effort to market to a younger audience, something MLB teams have been struggling with in recent years. DGNHS students chose to embrace personality, promoting things like bat flips and on-field celebrations. The social media strategy aligns well with the target audience, as does the campaign slogans of “The Time Is Now” and “Change the Game.” Students chose to really push “The Time Is Now” narrative to encourage fans not to wait before purchasing their ticket packages for the year. Very smart! “The Time Is Now” will also serve the franchise well as a rallying cry for the team’s social justice plan with a social media campaign “The Time Is Now For Equality.”

Overall, fantastic job breaking down what content will be shared through each platform to maximize reach and fan engagement. Perhaps the most unique idea in this round of the competition, however, was the inclusion of Spotify as part of the campaign. Using Spotify to bring “Sounds of the Stadium” to the homes of fans is a really fun idea, and connecting the platform to game day walk-up music could be a great way to engage fans. Tying those in with game day ticket sales promotions could help to give sales a boost.

Loved the Twitter MEMES, TikToks and YouTube content as well. Stoking the flames in the Cubs’ rivalry will certainly boost levels of fan engagement. Pairing a ticket to the Cubs’ series with another game that would typically be harder to sell could be a strategy that pays off as well. Also, NEXT LEVEL stuff from DGNHS students to have actual, real-life posts for all your social platforms…clearly students put a lot of time and effort into this case study!

Overall, a very comprehensive plan…super impressive work from Downers Grove North High School!

UPDATED BRACKET:

SportsBiz Madness 2021: Case Study Tournament (Opening Round Results)

OPENING ROUND RECAP

We were extremely impressed with the opening round results for our fifth annual SportsBiz Madness case study tournament.  Tasked with rebranding a Minor League Baseball franchise with a long history of sellouts and financial success (and fan support) but with a controversial team nickname.  Students put a lot of research into establishing a new brand that would connect with the community, generating support with an already loyal fan base.  Overall, this was the most competitive opening round field in the history of this tournament!

HONORABLE MENTION:

Selecting just eight groups from all of this year’s entries to advance to the bracket round of the competition was incredibly difficult.  Here are a few highlights from the “bubble” teams that were so close to advancing but didn’t quite get over the hump. 

Indianapolis Speedsters (Tappan Zee High School, New York)

What stood out with the Tappan Zee group’s “Speedsters” rebrand was the attention to detail in the branding effort itself.  Not only did they create a new brand identity for the franchise, but also offered a strategy for building brand awareness and maximizing opportunities to sell Speedsters branded merchandise.  Placing the new logo on a race car for the Indy 500 would most certainly attract some attention, and keeping a model of that car in front of the stadium would result in thousands of selfies on game day.  Also loved some of the promotions ideas to extend the branding.  Fantastic job Tappan Zee High School!

Indianapolis Woodrats (Grant High School, Oregon)

As they say, you learn something new every day! Thanks to the research done by Grant High School students, we know a species known as the “Allegheny Woodrats” are commonly found in the state of Indiana. Grant HS students rebranded as the ‘Woodrats’, in part, because the species is experiencing a decline in population, even facing extinction in some areas outside of Indianapolis, and the franchise would bring awareness to the threat. Pretty cool idea. Love the face mask idea (interesting to see at least HALF the entries in round one featured face masks as part of the merchandise collections), thought with the logo that there could be some really fun and and creative ways to design Woodrats branded face coverings that would be a hit with fans. Nice job Grant High School!

Indianapolis Slicers (Capital High School, Washington)

It is always interesting to see what students find when doing some research in our competitions. Case in point, a group of students from Capital HS in Washington who discovered that the first sliced bread company, Wonder Bread, was established in the city of Indianapolis.  Rebranding as the “Slicers” creates a connection to the city’s history and will no doubt offer some very fun and unique opportunities for creative brand extensions, including on the concessions menu at the ballpark and will no doubt help position the team as an innovative franchise.  As the Slicers’ reminded us in their case study response, “without sliced bread you can’t have things like sandwiches or toast.”  Nice job Capital High School!

Indianapolis Veterans (Green Run High School, Virginia)

Some good ideas here from students at Green Run, really liked the rebranding strategy paying tribute to veterans, and this group did an excellent job weaving together several themes that will create a connection with community. 

Perhaps best summed up by the explanation behind the new logo:  “The flags of Indianapolis and the U.S.A. for Veterans and for connection to winning and the checkered flag. Baseball bats and baseball for the sport in the shape of a V for Victory in wars and on the field. It also connects to Victory Stadium.”

Also, how great is this Corvette themed (aptly named “Vet”) mascot? Impressive work from Green Run High School!

Indianapolis Speed Demons (Superior High School, Wisconsin)

There were a lot of really great rebranding strategies tied to the theme of racing, understandably, given the area’s motor sports heritage.  We liked the way Superior HS students managed to incorporate the type of branding and imagery consistent with sports teams (like a “demon”) with a racing theme (like “speed”).  Clever name, cool logo and fun mascot.  Overall, really nice job by Superior High School!

Indianapolis Cardinals (Wichita East High School, Kansas)

Because both the state animal AND state bird is the Cardinal, students from Wichita East High School opted to rebrand the franchise as the Cardinals.  The franchise hopes to gain support of fans throughout the entire state rather than just the Indianapolis area, expanding the brand’s footprint. Traditionally, that can be a real challenge for a minor league franchise but appreciate seeing students “thinking big” in this competition.   

ADVANCING TO THE BRACKET ROUND OF THE COMPETITION:

Indianapolis Speedsters (Carle Place High School, New York)

Important to develop a brand that will resonate with your target audience, so it was great to see a family-friendly vibe with the Speedsters brand development strategy as a way to appeal to a minor league baseball fan base.  Fantastic promotion idea as well to maintain a loyal following by offering discounts on the NEW merchandise to any fans that have gear featuring the former team name. Nice job Carle Place HS students!

Indianapolis Baby Blues (Pinelands Regional High School, New Jersey)

Defending case study tournament champs Pinelands Regional is no stranger to this competition, and if the response to the first case study challenge is any indication, they are ready to bring it again this year!

By the looks of the description of the new nickname (Baby Blues), it would appear PRHS students did some serious research. The rebrand offers a nod to the history of the franchise, with a fresh new look.

Overall, lots of great branding ideas and we loved the uniforms too! Another brilliant effort from Pinelands Regional HS…

Indianapolis Gearheads (Green Run High School, Virginia)

Another newcomer to this year’s competition, another fantastic case study response. Impressive work from Green Run High School with the development of the rebranding effort and crafting a very unique new nickname.

REALLY loved seeing this group of students relying on data from some market research to help shape not only the rebranding strategy, but also the merchandising plan. After identifying 57 year-old-olds as the average age of fans, it makes sense to offer merchandise that would appeal to that demographic. Great idea to partner with a popular local vendor with Hubbard and Craven (nice job researching that!) to give sales of team-branded merchandise an added lifted, expanding your distribution beyond the ballpark and team store online. Great to see a focus on figuring out ways to increase revenue.

Overall, the attention to detail was very impressive, from the colorways and design scheme for the brand, the logo, the mascot and merchandise. Well done!

Indianapolis Bones (Grant High School, Oregon)

So much to love here. The research in determining a new nickname. The creativity behind some of the merchandise the franchise will offer its fans (LOVING the “T-Rex Teeth” face coverings and “Bone Bat” replicas that the mascot, Buddy, carries around at games), and the unique brand partnerships. Grant High School students rocked this first case study, very impressive!

Indianapolis Centurions (Flower Mound High School, Texas)

From a merchandising perspective, the Centurions branding strategy really stood out from the rest. LOVE the brand extensions throughout the stadium, no doubt helping to boost sales of everything from food and beverage to tickets and merchandise. Given the family friendly nature of minor league baseball, the creative branding around the stadium to give it a theme park feel will most certainly draw a crowd and make it easy to transition from the old team name to the Centurions. Great idea to offer a secondary logo as well. Lots of excellent ideas here from students at Flower Mound High School!

Indy Stretch (Downers Grove North, Illinois)

So we saved the most unique rebrands for last…beginning with the “Indy Stretch”, imagined by students from Downers Grove North in Illinois. The clever nickname is tied to the city’s roots in many ways, as described by Downers Grove North students: “The new nickname, the Indy Stretch, has multiple tie-ins to the history of Indianapolis, and nods to many things that Hoosiers are proud of.

  • Stretch pays homage to the legendary motor racing scene in Indianapolis, and was derived from the “Homestretch” of a racetrack
  • Stretch also honors Indianapolis native Albert von Tilzer, writer of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, an American ballad most commonly associated with the seventh inning stretch of a baseball game
  • Stretch, in addition to the homestretch of a race track and the 7th inning stretch of a baseball game, also refers to the role that the state of Indiana played during the Underground Railroad, as it was the homestretch in the path to freedom for escaped slaves venturing north.

The group also came up with a pretty cool way to raise brand awareness through cross promotion by partnering with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to play a weekend series, the “Crossroads Classic”, on the infield at the iconic motor sports venue, including specially checkered flag branded promotional uniforms. Awesome.

But what’s up with the Giraffe? According to the students, the mascot “Armstrong the Giraffe” was born in partnership with the Indianapolis City Zoo, as well as one with Hasbro, and the team will create custom “Stretch Armstrong” dolls modeled after Armstrong to boost merchandise sales with bobbleheads as game day giveaways to boost attendance. Such great ideas…congrats Downers Grove North, you’re moving on to the bracket round!

Indianapolis Tenderloins (Ellicottville Central School, New York)

One of the most popular marketing trends in Minor League Baseball in recent memory features teams rebranding with food themes.  One student from Ellicottville HS in New York tapped into that strategy and introduced a food-themed rebrand of their own, introducing the Indianapolis Tenderloins. Whacky as it may seem, we think this could really work.

One of the most iconic dishes that hails from Hoosier State is the pork tenderloin sandwich, a dishly that is uniquely representative of the area. Fun and whimsical, the branding will certain resonate with fans of all ages, and opportunities to extend the brand at the concessions stand could give food and beverage sales a nice boost. Nice job Ellicottville High School!

Indianapolis Walruses (Fruitport High School, Michigan)

The Walruses? According to Fruitport High School students, the new nickname is based on the important role the Indianapolis Zoo plays as a fabric of the Indianapolis community. At the Indianapolis Zoo, they take the time and consideration of protecting and rehabilitating walruses as well as many other animals.

Because minor league baseball is such a family oriented entertainment platform, the branding (including the colorways, logo and mascot, “Whilbert the Walrus”) will certainly create a connection with the community and attract area families to the ballpark.

SCC’S 2021 SPORTSBIZ MADNESS TOURNAMENT BRACKET

The eight teams advancing in the tournament will compete in a head to head style format for the opportunity to be crowned champs of the 2021 case study tournament. Teams were not seeded, the bracket pairings are drawn at random. Good luck to our participating students in the “Elite Eight” round!

Super Bowl LV Promotions Student Competition – Winning Entries!

Before we announce the winners, we would like to give a big thank you to Alex Dobson of Audible Design, a long-time advertising industry exec, for sharing his marketing expertise and helping to judge our Super Bowl LV student competition. Thank you for your time and feedback Alex!

In conjunction with Super Bowl LV, Sports Career Consulting hosted a student competition with a focus on developing a fundamental understanding of the concept of promotion. Students were tasked with the development of a point of purchase display representing a consumer goods brand tied to Super Bowl LV. The contest drew over 100 entries and we saw a lot of impressive ideas. Overall, the effort students put into this competition was more than evident. Props to all those who participated!

OVERALL FEEDBACK:

Selecting our three winners proved to be quite a challenge, with so many students demonstrating an exception grasp on key competition elements like promotion, retail, store placement etc. and the creativity (many students made real-life models of point-of-purchase displays) was fantastic and fun to see. That said, we felt that three students managed to create a display and promotion concept that really stood out. The top three entries submitted ideas that were not only creative, but offered strategies that would most certainly lead to an increase in product sales.

WINNERS:

First Place: M. Wozniak (Tappan Zee High School, New York)

Congrats to Ms. Wozniak at Tappan Zee High School in New York for winning SCC’s Super Bowl LV Promotions Competition! Some highlights from her point-of-purchase display:

  • Super concept for a POP display, love seeing a different approach to building a display using product…typically, you’ll see a grocery display spelling out the words “Super Bowl” or the names of participating teams. Ms. Wozniak’s idea levels that concept up by building a locker room featuring product. We can imagine it being an awesome experiential display to walk through, and something that would most certainly attract the attention of shoppers leading up to the big game.
  • Of course, it isn’t just about the display… We really liked the product integration with soda boxes for columns, and chips integrated into the locker stalls. At the end of the day, the success of a promotion is measured by sales so it was great to see Ms. Wozniak keep her eye on the prize, so to speak.
  • Also thought it was a fantastic idea to include an “enter-to-win” element to elevate the level of consumer engagement by giving away the displayed jerseys
The winning entry in the Super Bowl LV promotions competition from a student at Tappan Zee High School in New York features a locker room, recreated using soda cans and bags of chips

Second Place: D. Vu (Justice High School, Virginia)

Congrats to Mr. Vu at Justice HS in Virginia for taking second place in SCC’s Super Bowl LV Promotions Competition! Some highlights from his point-of-purchase display:

  • Bringing coffee (and Starbucks) into the football conversation? Loved it. We appreciated the recognition that brands other than the obvious (snack foods, soda, TVs etc) can benefit from aligning a promotion with the big game.
  • We thought it was a really smart idea to include collector’s edition Starbucks football helmets as part of the promotion, certainly an aspect of the promotion that would garner consumer attention! The addition of an “enter-to-win” promotion would definitely boost levels of engagement as well.
  • Really nice job from Mr. Vu explaining the importance of where the promotion would be placed in the store, one of the key components of this competition.
  • Food for thought to take it over the top next time: Perhaps specially flavored/named drinks for the teams or players would add even more sizzle to the promotion? (The original Starbucks in Pike Place Market in Seattle sold a special Beast Mode coffee drink when he played with the Seahawks)
The competition runner-up approached things from a non-traditional angle, opting to create a promotion at a Starbucks location inside a grocery store rather than a chips, soda, TV or other popular Super Bowl product

Third Place: L. Miller (Hinsdale Central High School, Illinois)

Congrats to Ms. Miller at Hinsdale Central HS in Illinois for her third place finish in SCC’s Super Bowl LV Promotions Competition! Some highlights from her point-of-purchase display:

  • We loved the overall integration of a “concept” to Ms. Miller’s entire display, based off the storyline of the game Brady (“classic” old guy) vs. Mahomes (the “young” guy and future of the league) that had media outlets around the world talking…great way to tap into the added buzz to benefit the brand!
  • Aligning specific products to those players (Brady-Classic Doritos vs. Mahomes – Newest flavors) was a nice touch.
  • We absolutely loved the tagline: “Craving a taste for something new, or stick with what you love? We have both!”
  • As was the case with all three finalists, Ms. Miller demonstrated a solid understanding and explanation of the important role placement of the display within the store plays in boosting product sales
Third place in the competition went to a student who developed an “old vs. new” theme for her display, capitalizing on the hype surrounding the older QB vs. the new QB to launch a new flavored product

Congrats again to all three of our finalists! We have prizes coming your way!!!

HONORABLE MENTION (ALEX’S A.C.E. AWARDS: AWESOME CREATIVE EFFORT):

E. Tavares – Tappan Zee HS, New York

We really liked the potential of Mr. Tavares’ idea of bringing the iconic M&M’s characters to life in stores leading up to the Super Bowl. No doubt the promotion would turn some heads as customers enter the store. We would have loved to see you take things a step further…potentially outfitting the characters in Tampa or KC jerseys, maybe even partnering with a personality like Gronk to create a new character, even holograms of characters could be really cool! Either way, great concept, super creative. Well done Mr. Tavares.

Kent CTC students – Michigan

Props to students in Kent Helfrich’s class for taking the time to put together a YouTube video! We appreciate the effort that went into that and really like the idea of stop motion video to attract the attention of consumers. Also appreciate the recognition of the short attention span of shoppers, making a quick six second video clip to grab the attention makes a ton of sense. Really creative and very well done!

A. Payne – Tappan Zee HS, New York

Wknd chillin’ in his pool enjoying his moment on the big screen? Awesome. Definitely one of our favorites in this competition. Nice job Ms. Payne!

T. Wagner – Foster High School, Texas

Clearly Mr. Wagner put a lot of time into the project…check out his REAL display using Coke and Sprite products!! Super impressive.

Pine Island students – Minnesota

Students in Nicole Rusch’s class created one of the better visuals for a POP display in this competition, really appreciated the attention to detail…nice job incorporating the “LV” into the display…would have been cool to see something extra with the goal posts at a supermarket…maybe a chip brand that is part of PepsiCo portfolio etc. Nice work though!

T. Nordberg – Foster High School, Texas
T. Tobin and D. Handelman – Tappan Zee High School, New York

Two entries from different schools had the same brilliant idea by creating a life-size version of both Super Bowl QBs using bags of potato chips…so awesome. Great idea if you can pull it off!

A student from Foster High School in Texas recreated this iconic Patrick Mahomes pose using bags of Tostitos, salsa and chips
Students from Tappan Zee HS in NY planned to create life-size replicas of both Super Bowl QBs using bags of Doritos as the jerseys

Subway once recreated the likeness of former Heisman winners Robert Griffin III and Marcus Mariota using bread, cheese and cold cuts, so why not a Brady or Mahomes statue made of bags of chips?? Love the creativity.

Subway created a likeness of former Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Robert Griffin III using the restaurant’s bread, cheese, veggies and meats

SportsBiz Madness: Case Study Tournament

Opening Round Recap

We received well over 100 entries from student “teams” participating in this year’s case study competition (more than double the number of entries from our inaugural competition) and we couldn’t be more impressed with the submissions.  Tasked with the development of a promotions plan that would help a new minor league baseball franchise based in Madison, Wisconsin reach a goal of 85% stadium capacity for the season, the student response was incredibly impressive.  Students demonstrated a clear understanding of the important role ticket sales plays in the financial viability of a minor league franchise, and how promotion and fan experience impact the team’s ability to sell.

We had a number of student teams that submitted particularly impressive responses to the first case study.  Unfortunately, only eight could be selected to advance to our “elite eight” round of the competition where the tournament shifts to a “head to head” format.

Of course, selecting just eight teams from our pool of entries was extremely difficult (we are already considering a shift in format next year to begin the competition earlier to allow for a “sweet sixteen” round).  It was very evident that students put forth a lot of effort in creating their responses to the first case study, including a lot of background research on the Madison market, including local businesses and city/community traditions and history.  For example, one team named their franchise the “Madison Flamingos”, a reference to Madison’s “official city bird”, the yard flamingo.  I was born and raised in Madison and didn’t even know that!  We also saw a number of teams incorporating either cheese, cows, capitals (Madison is the capital city of Wisconsin) or popular area lake fish (Walleye, Pike, Muskies etc) into team names, further demonstrating that the students did their homework on the Madison area.

As we evaluated each entry, it was fun to see the creativity behind all of the ideas for promotions, but ultimately we had to select the entries that best met the criteria established in the assigned case study.  One of the most critical elements (in addition to offering creative and unique promotion ideas) was to provide a clear strategic plan for how promotions would help the franchise bottom line, specifically by meeting attendance goals.  Those who communicated the best and most viable strategies were the teams selected to advance to the “Elite Eight” round.

As we look ahead, eight teams will compete head to head for the chance to advance to the SportsBiz Madness Final Four.  The teams were not seeded.  Names were drawn from a hat and added to the bracket accordingly.  We can’t wait to see what the students come up with as a response to the next case study as they are asked to create a fan engagement strategy for a college basketball program during the offseason…
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“Super” Displays

Every year, sales of consumer goods like soda, snacks, pizza, chicken wings, avocados, beer and even televisions spike in the week leading up to the Super Bowl.  Not coincidentally, vendors work with supermarkets around the country and go all out to create elaborate point-of-purchase displays.  Here are a few classic examples of ways brands have demonstrated some creativity in an effort to capture some Super Bowl hype and connect with fans.

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The Best Grilled Cheese In Sports

In honor of today’s celebration of #NationalGrilledCheeseDay, we thought it would be fun to look at which teams offer a grilled cheese item on their concessions menu.  The task was surprisingly challenging as grilled cheese apparently isn’t considered much of a ballpark staple, despite the current trend of creating eclectic food items at sports venues.  It should also be noted that we haven’t actually tried any of these, so the ranking is rather arbitrary.

That said, here are the top five best grilled cheese sandwiches in sports…

Honorable Mentions:

Montgomery Biscuits – “The Gump”

While the  Biscuits actually offer FOUR variations of grilled cheese sandwiches, our vote goes to “The Gump” which incorporates pork shoulder, BBQ sauce, coleslaw, “candied red onions” with pepper jack cheese to provide some zip on sourdough bread.

Chicago White Sox – “Avocado Bacon Grilled Cheese”

Thanks Night Train Veeck for the heads up…avocado and bacon added to a grilled cheese sandwich?  Sounds delicious!

Round Rock Express – “Grilled Cheese Dog”

What says baseball more than hot dogs, peanuts and cracker jacks?  While The Express’ unique spin on a grilled cheese might not contain the peanuts or cracker jacks, but it has successfully combined the hot dog with a traditional, down home comfort food.  According to Minor League Baseball’s website, the “Grilled Cheese Dog” is made with a quarter-pound of Nolan Ryan’s 100-percent hand-selected All Natural Grass Fed Beef wrapped in a grilled cheese sandwich then skewered.  A true Texas delight.

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Super Bowl 50 Student Competition Winner!

Congrats to Kirk Helferich’s sports marketing class at Kent Career & Technical Center in Grand Rapids for winning our POP display competition!

Students were tasked with developing a point of purchase display representing a consumer goods brand with a Super Bowl 50 theme. We received a number of really impressive ideas but the students at KCTC stole the show.

Here’s how the students tackled this project (pun intended) via Mr. Helferich:

They started trying to use resources in the room. I told them I could buy some pop, but not enough to make it look great. One of the students called Coke and a store had just returned a few football related signs. So I drove down and they threw in a few shirts for students. They made a SB trophy but thought it looked like a massive baked potato (see pic at end of video) so they kept searching. A few watched some videos on photoshop to learn background removal, and then they went crazy on finding backgrounds they liked. They impressed me with how they solved problems when conflict arose, and with teamwork. It was a great time for this project as things start to drag between Xmas break and spring break.

Way to go guys.  We are sending some prizes your way!

Super Bowl 50 #SportsBiz Recap

While the majority of football fans today will discuss the possibilities of Peyton Manning riding off into the sunset, favorite commercials and the halftime performances, marketers are busy analyzing the overall impact on brands.  So, which brands won the Super Bowl?  Here is a recap of what the experts are saying about the performance of advertisers, sponsors and social media campaigns…

 

Ad Winners & Losers

Adweek’s top 5 commercials from Super Bowl 50:

  1. Jeep
  2. T-Mobile
  3. Audi
  4. Heinz
  5. Doritos
AdWeek also examined which Super Bowl ads “resonated” with viewers.
Click here to see which spots created the most chatter.

USA Today’s “AdMeter” winners:

  1. Hyundai “First Date”
  2. Heinz “Weiner Stampede”
  3. Doritos “Ultrasound”
  4. Doritos “Dogs”
  5. Hyundai “Ryanville”
More from USA Today AdMeter…click here to see the voting for most underrated spots from Super Bowl 50, the top five worst ads and much more.
Postano.com tracked the “performance” of the Super Bowl commercials and offers a fantastic breakdown (and some cool graphics) of Sunday’s ads.  Click here to view the analysis as well as every single ad from the big game.

Super Bowl 50 by the Numbers

You just have to love the Super Bowl, especially if you teach sports marketing!  The “Big Game” creates such a fun environment for teaching some of the fundamental marketing principles that drive the business of sports and entertainment.

Looking for a current and relevant way to illustrate the concepts of supply and demand or economic impact? Need a discussion starter on the concept of ambush marketing or sponsorship?  How about advertising, ticket sales or merchandising?  Endorsement?  Promotion?  This look at the Super Bowl “by the numbers” has you covered.  Enjoy the “Big Game”!

$35 Million

According to moneynation.com, estimates put Cam Newton’s career endorsement earnings thus far at $35 million.  Newton’s endorsement portfolio includes brands like Under Armour, L’Oreal, Dannon, Beats By Dre and Carolinas Medical Center (among others).

$12 Million

Peyton Manning earned $12 million in endorsements last year alone.  According to Forbes, Manning was the NFL’s top pitchman in 2014 thanks to partnerships with companies like Buick, DirecTV, Gatorade, Nationwide and Papa John’s.

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#NationalHatDay

One of the great advantages of social media is its ability to provide digital marketing professionals with a great vehicle for connecting with fans in unconventional ways.  Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram give consumers a reason to celebrate just about anything. Take for instance “National Hat Day”, which was trending on Twitter with the hashtag #NationalHatDay last week.  So how were teams leveraging the hat day buzz to sell more gear and promote their brands?  Here is a quick rundown of some of the activity on Twitter…

Many teams spent the day having a little fun on Twitter to “celebrate” the #NationalHatDay:

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